The Guyana Fire Service (GFS) was able to avert major damage to the three-storey building at the Health Sciences Faculty of the University of Guyana, Turkeyen Campus, earlier today (Wednesday, March 8, 2017).
Fire Prevention Officer Andrew Holder said there was minor damage to the North-Eastern stairway during the incident which occurred around 10:30 hours. The fire alarm was activated by a student.
Holder explained that based on his preliminary inspection a storage tank containing fuel was too close to a generator which was on at the time of the incident. “Number two the material in which the storage tank was built out of was not the required material for a petroleum storage tank, it’s a plastic tank. Those tanks are used mainly for transporting of fuel not for continuous storage of fuel,” said Holder.
The Fire Prevention Officer further added that “the generator was running for quite a continuous period of time, over heated, melt the plastic tank, fuel escape, got into the generator enclosure and from there an explosion occurred.”
Holder told members of the media that “it is a norm that before a facility such as this (University) would have been built the Fire Service would have been consulted.”
According to Fire Prevention Officer, he was never consulted because if he was then he “would not have recommended the conditions you are seeing here today.”
An eye-witness recounted that he was on his way to the restroom on the lower flat of the building when he noticed an out of place scent. “I look over the rail and I see is nah da (generator) smoking up, I see da had a whole bunch of dry grass around the thing (generator) giving off some heat,” added the Medical Student.
He even confirmed that it was his friend who sounded the alarm about the fire after he frantically explained what he saw at the stairway.
When questioned on whether he recalled the time of when he saw the fire he said “me aint know I bruk out, I don’t know, anybody does check time when da panicking.”
It was not long ago that the science laboratory building at Natural Sciences Faculty benefited from a US$10M World Bank soft loan under the institution’s Science and Technology Support Project.